GLEN ARBOR — Glen Lake Community Schools felt the blow of an early snowstorm that just kept blanketing Leelanau County, and which weather forecasters expected to hit even more of northwest Michigan.
The district canceled all after-school activities Monday, including its board of education meeting. Superintendent Jon Hoover said the call was made shortly after noon.
“We’ve been getting just crazy snow out here the whole day,” he said. “Everything is canceled out here.”
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties until 6 p.m. Tuesday. Heavy snow showers were expected to hit Benzie and Leelanau counties Monday evening, then shift into Grand Traverse County overnight.
Those showers could drop another 6-10 inches of snow through Tuesday, potentially making for poor visibility and hazardous driving conditions Monday evening and Tuesday morning, according to the NWS.
More snow could leave parts of the region piled even deeper. Andy Sullivan, a NWS meteorologist in Gaylord, said there was a reported 15 inches of snow in Burdickville, a locale on Glen Lake’s southeast shore.
“It’s a lot of snow for this early, no doubt about it,” he said.
Records from around the county show the most snow on Nov. 11 was eight inches in Maple City in 1979, and seven in Northport in 1997, Sullivan said — he didn’t have current snowfall totals for those two spots yet but expected to have them Tuesday.
All the snow has kept Leelanau County Road Commission plow drivers busy, said Justin Kelenske, road commission managing director. They’ve already been out five times, and planned to start plowing for the night shift for the first time this season, he said.
“It looks like Mother Nature has come in full force,” he said.
Full force, and early enough that Leelanau County Road Commission hasn’t brought on its seasonal help yet, Kelenske said. They usually don’t start until Dec. 1, so the department’s foreman and superintendent are filling in to help clear roads.
A low pressure system passing by to the south drew in Arctic air, bringing a dumping of lake-effect snow on northwest Michigan and a lighter snowstorm to stretch across the entire Lower Peninsula, Sullivan said.
“The cold air is key,” he said. “The Arctic air coming down through Canada really is what’s causing a lot of this that we’re seeing today.”
That same cold air pushed temperatures down 20 degrees below normal, Sullivan said — thermometers in Traverse City showed 27 degrees compared to average highs in the mid-40s.
The Arctic air won’t stick around, Sullivan said. High temperatures should be back to normal by week’s end.
Forecasts show high temperatures will rise above freezing starting Thursday, when they’re predicted to reach 34 degrees. They’re expected to be up to 40 degrees by Monday.
For now, drivers need to be patient and give themselves more time to get from point A to point B, Kelenske said.
“When it starts this heavy and the snow falls this fast, it definitely catches the motoring public,” he said. “They have to retrain themselves again, no doubt.”
Record-Eagle reporter Brendan Quealy contributed to this article.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct a reporter's error about Glen Lake Community Schools administrators' cancellation decision. Students completed the school day and after-school activities were canceled. The article also has been updated to credit Brendan Quealy for contributing. Nov. 12, 2019